Uber launched a new application program interface (API) feature — Uber Trip Experiences — for developers around the world on Tuesday, aimed at making riders' experiences better. The new API enables third-party apps to connect with riders during their trips by offering content customised to the length and location of the ride.
Uber Trip Experiences, which the company says is the biggest update to the Uber API since the release of the Ride Request API in March 2015, allows third-party app developers to offer tailored content to riders based on the specifics of each ride. At a media briefing on Tuesday, Dmitry Shevelenko, head of business for the Uber developer platform, said there are endless possibilities of Uber Trip Experiences API integration, ranging from entertainment and news to local guides and more.
"Uber Trip Experiences is all about elevating the overall Uber rider experience. We value the time of our riders and are always seeking new ways to maximise the enjoyment and utility of their time in an Uber. From media to gaming to IoT, Uber Trip Experiences creates new opportunities for developers to build unique Uber integrations that enhance the user experience while they are on an Uber trip," Shevelenko said in a statement.
Uber hosted its first ever hackathon in Bengaluru on Tuesday, where it invited 12 teams of developers to build an application that elevates riders' experience during their trip. The Uber Trip Experiences API went live earlier on Tuesday to all developers around the world at the same time.
Shevelenko explained how Uber Trip Experiences, which is an open platform for developers to integrate the API in unique ways, can transform a regular ride into a productive one. Some ideas include a 10-minute playlist for a 10-minute trip, a five-minute news update for a five-minute ride, or a special Uber level in your favourite game that the rider must finish before the trip ends. How to request Uber ride using feature phones was one of the popular ideas Uber received during its hackathon nominations.
To make these ideas possible, developers get access to the trip details but with a complete confidentiality agreement.
"Developers can only access customers' information about the trip, which includes where the trip started and where it ended," Saad Ahmed, business development lead at Uber India, told IBTimes India.
The new API integration will not force new notifications upon users from third-party apps. Each app requires permission in order to connect to Uber and access users' trip details. Uber will also send monthly emails with details of permissions granted to all the apps, along with an option revoke them at any time.
Integrating Uber Trip Experiences API into an app not only enhances users' experience during their commute, but also offers bounty to third-party app developers for bringing a new rider on board Uber, just like it does in international markets, Ahmed told IBTimes India.
"If a new rider to Uber comes in through a partner application, a bounty is paid to the developer of the app. Uber has a similar sort of programme in India. The economics change because of the lifetime value of the customer is different in the US from the lifetime value of the customer in India. The economics change from country-to-country but that programme exists in Uber," Ahmed said.
Ahmed also said the company has set some internal revenue targets with its new Uber Trip Experiences API launch, but refused to share them.
Uber has already partnered with several brands for its Uber API integration, including Zomato, Practo, Healthcare, ZO Rooms, Housing.com, Satyam Cinemas, Facebook Messenger, Google Maps and RedBus. Uber has reportedly completed 1 billion trips around the world with an average of 20 minutes per trip.